Gentiana catesbaei (Elliot’s Gentian).
Native perennial to the north- and southeastern United States, preferring boggy soils in sunny locations. Clusters of tubular, blue, funnel-shaped flowers appear October through November. The plant was widely used by Catawba Native Americans for medicinal purposes. The genus name Gentiana is derived from Gentius, an ancient King of Illyria (region of Southern Europe, Balkan Peninsula, 168 BC) who first recognized the tonic properties of the plant, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Illustration: Jacob Bigelow, American Medical Botany (1817-20), engraving by Annin and Smith.